Mayor Willie Mae Leake said in a statement last week, however, that a new arrangement had been made and that the officers began receiving their back pay on March 15.
Tom Bright, head of the Fraternal Order of Police, said he thought the timing of the new agreement probably coincided with the primary election coming up Tuesday.
"What they tried to do is make people happy, so to speak, so they'll reach out and vote for someone," he said of the city administration. The FOP has endorsed Peter Seltzer, Leake's rival in the Republican mayoral primary.
Under the terms of the 1989 contract, each officer was to receive $500 in 1989, then a 4 percent raise for 1990 and a 4.5 percent raise for 1991. The department's base salary is $26,084. After a three-year apprenticeship, officers get more pay for things like seniority and night shifts.
The city is continuing to appeal parts of an arbitrator's ruling on the contract, including the right of police offcers to live outside Chester. That appeal is pending in Commonwealth Court.